Negotiating the 5 Lifecycle Stages of a Small Business

1. Existence

During this early phase, the main problems businesses face are basic ones, such as being able to get enough customers, delivering products and providing services well enough to stay viable. The owner does most, if not all the tasks and directly supervises any employees. Formal planning and organisational systems are minimal to non-existent and the company’s main business objective is to stay alive. 

At this stage, business development consultants can help a small business by advising the owner on marketing, product development and how to manage cash flow. It could be the case that new business owners use the money of the business and personal money interchangeably. This is unprofessional and could lead to accounting legal problems. A business consultant can help devise and implement proper cash flow systems to keep the owner’s personal money separate from that of the business.

2. Survival

Here, the small business has proven its viability. Despite challenges in the business environment, it has established a loyal customer base or at least there is a great enough demand for its products or services. The key problems have moved to managing revenues and costs. Operations remain simple, but now there may be more employees and likely, a supervisor. Any planning is focused on cash forecasts, survival still remains the main goal and the owner tends to be very active in the business. 

As with stage 1, the business though viable is still not secure and could fold. A business development consultant can identify growth opportunities and recommend ways to exploit them. 

3. Success

Usually the owner chooses between expanding the company or keeping it stable and profitable. If more than one person owns the business, one or more owners may partially or completely disengage from the company to start a new pursuit while keeping the business profitable. 

An effective business development consultant can assist the owners to achieve even greater success by preparing for more growth. As the business grows and hires more employees, the consultant can provide HR management services and introduce IT-automated processes to take advantage of the company’s expansion and profitability.

4. Taking Off

The business is even more successful after it has “taken off”. It’s now more decentralised, with competent staff handling a growing and complex business environment. Operational and strategic planning is part of the culture and the owners are less involved. The small business has the opportunity to become big, or be sold at a profit if the owners decide. 

New processes, systems and personnel will be needed. A business development consultant can offer invaluable services like Change Management to facilitate restructuring of departments.

5. Resource Maturity

A business at Stage 5 is one that has arrived. It now has the staff and resources for extensive operational and strategic planning. Management is decentralised and experienced, with well-developed systems in place. Its main concern is to remain innovative and avoid losing to more entrepreneurial-minded competitors. 

A business development consultant can assist businesses at this stage to stave off complacency, and find ways to retain its entrepreneurial spirit.

At every growth stage, owning and operating a small business has its share of obstacles and opportunities. Buck Consultants have the experience and knowledge to help your small business break through the barriers and advance it to the next exciting level of growth.

Are you looking to take your business to the next level? You’ll need an experienced, no-nonsense business development consultant to help your business maximise its opportunities and realise its potential. Give us a call on +61 8 6189 8595 or contact us online today!